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Here Are the Top Arts and Recreation Programs at BGCA

boysandgirlsclubBoys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has been working for more than a century to help the nation’s youth reach their full potential. The Club experience focuses heavily on education and academic success. The organization also oversees a number of initiatives that inspire creativity, build confidence, and encourage members to live healthy and active lives.

Currently, BGCA conducts a wide range of arts-based programming that explores numerous disciplines. At Boys and Girls Clubs across the country, members of all ages also engage in a variety of sports and recreation programs.

Keep reading for a closer look at how BGCA is promoting physical fitness and providing an outlet for self-expression.

 

Using the Arts to Give Kids a Voice

With the support of its national partners, BGCA inspires Club youth to pursue interests ranging from photography to hip-hop. The group’s top three programs in the area of art education are:

 

  1. ImageMakers and the National Photography Program

Supported by Sony Electronics, ImageMakers helps young people develop the skills needed to take impactful photos and express themselves through visual storytelling. The initiative is part of BGCA’s National Photography Program, which has been teaching youth about the art and science of photography for more than 50 years.

A major component of ImageMakers is the National Photography Contest. Open to Club members ages 6 to 18, the contest invites participants to capture photos in several categories, including culture and tradition, portraits, and fashion.

Those who win competitions at the local and regional levels go on to compete nationally for a chance to win Sony camera equipment and have their photos exhibited online. Each year, the winners’ artwork can be viewed at www.bgca.org/imagemakers.

photography pictures

 

  1. Lyricism 101

Rooted in the music of hip-hop culture, Lyricism 101 gives Club teens the opportunity to express their ideas in lyrical form. With support from Sprite and Coca-Cola, BGCA first launched Lyricism 101 in 2016. Since then, it has spread to Club locations nationwide.

Although activities vary from Club to Club, the main components of the program include workshops on the history of hip-hop and the art of freestyling. Lyricism 101 also includes competitions that help teens build self-confidence while showcasing their lyrical talents.

 

  1. DramaMatters Afterschool

Another way BGCA helps youth build self-confidence is through DramaMatters Afterschool. In addition to teaching Club members ages 6 to 18 about acting, the weekly drama education program features hands-on lessons. Topics include costumes, set design, and directing.

Each session is designed to be adaptable for all ages and ability levels. DramaMatters Afterschool is made possible with support from TNT.

 

Creating Healthier Youth through Sports and Recreation

In addition to overseeing a comprehensive health and wellness program called Triple Play, BGCA promotes positive health outcomes by engaging Club youth in various sports and recreation programs. The organization’s top programs in this area include:

 

  1. PLAY BALL

Over the past two decades, Major League Baseball (MLB) has partnered with Boys and Girls Clubs on various initiatives impacting the nation’s youth. One of the most recent of these initiatives is PLAY BALL. The program teaches kids of all ages the fundamentals of baseball and softball.

PLAY BALL also highlights the many ways that these sports can be played. Along with traditional games, the program engages participants in other fun activities. These include catch, stickball, WIFFLE ball, and skills competitions. Club members who participate in PLAY BALL also have the opportunity to meet professional baseball players and take part in special MLB events.

 

  1. RBI and Jr. RBI

Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is another MLB-sponsored initiative. It focuses specifically on encouraging youth in underserved communities to participate in baseball and softball.

Boys and Girls Clubs across the country oversee RBI leagues comprising boys’ baseball and girls’ fast-pitch softball teams. In addition to playing competitively in league games, members of RBI teams have the opportunity to take part in baseball clinics, regional tournaments, and the national RBI World Series.

Alongside the main RBI program for boys and girls ages 13 to 18, BGCA offers Jr. RBI for youth 12 and under. With three divisions of play, the program introduces age-appropriate rules while teaching baseball and softball fundamentals. All three divisions of Jr. RBI also emphasize safety. This ensures that young players have fun without injuring their developing bodies.

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  1. ALL STARS

Club youth interested in sports other than baseball can take part in BGCA’s ALL STARS program, which focuses on basketball, soccer, and flag football. Each year, ALL STARS provides tens of thousands of youth ages 6 to 18 with the opportunity to enjoy physical activity and social interaction. In 2017 alone, the program reached over 170,000 Club members.

ALL STARS is made possible with support from Buffalo Wild Wings and its Team Up for Kids initiative. The national restaurant chain has supported the program for several years. It has committed to donating more than $10 million by 2020 to expand and improve sports programming at Boys and Girls Clubs across the country.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

 

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woman

Wounded Warrior Project: A Spotlight on the Big Media Stories from 2018

wounded warrior projectAs Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) looks ahead to another year of assisting military members and their families, it’s time to review the top news stories from 2018. The year marked the organization’s 15th anniversary.

The organization celebrated by finding new ways to help injured veterans feel empowered, uplifted, and engaged in their communities. Also during 2018, WWP significantly expanded its membership by registering 60 new veterans and military family members each day of the year.

Read on for a closer look at some of the other top news from 2018.

 

Advancing National Legislative Priorities

Since its founding over 15 years ago, WWP has been an advocate for more than half a million veterans and their families. In 2018, the organization worked tirelessly to ensure that those who have served their country receive the benefits and assistance they deserve. WWP’s 2018 advocacy efforts focused on community-based care, physical and mental health, and long-term veteran support.

Some of the legislative highlights from 2018 include the passage of the Mission Act. This law advances accountability within the Department of Veterans Affairs and gives veterans access to more health care options. In advocating for the Act, WWP mobilized thousands of veterans and military supporters while working closely with US Congress and other veteran service organizations.

Wounded Warrior Project also worked alongside the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors to ensure passage of the Families of The Fallen Service Members Act. The legislation protects a $100,000 death gratuity payment that military families receive when a service member loses their life while on active duty. Specifically, the Act ensures that grieving families receive these funds without delay under all circumstances, including during government shutdowns.

 

Leading the Military Community

In addition to advocating for national public policy that helps veterans and military families, WWP helps lead a community of partners. All these entities work to ensure that wounded veterans have local access to quality housing, employment, education, and assistance services.

In September 2018, the organization joined other community groups at the fifth annual Warrior Community Integration Symposium in Atlanta. Hosted by America’s Warrior Partnership, the event brought together hundreds of professionals from the veteran services community for three days of programming focused on veteran advocacy and support.

WWP CEO Mike Linnington spoke during the symposium. He articulated the importance of camaraderie among veterans as they recover from physical and mental wounds incurred during military service. He also discussed the critical role that local community support networks play in helping veterans heal.

Later in 2018, Linnington also addressed the audience at the Association of the US Army’s annual conference, the largest military trade show in the country. During the event, Linnington highlighted WWP’s latest work. He also presented the 2018 AUSA Volunteer Family of the Year Award to an exceptional Army family dedicated to volunteer service.

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Challenging Warriors to Succeed

In 2018, WWP celebrated the 15th anniversary of Soldier Ride. The national program helps veterans make new personal connections and push their physical limits through cycling. Along with offering four-day cycling experiences throughout the year, the program includes Soldier Ride Across America.

The event relays teams of cyclists more than 3,300 miles from New York City to San Diego. The 2018 cross-country trek began on September 8 and finished on October 7. It gave participants the opportunity to raise awareness for veteran issues while bonding over a shared challenge.

WWP also gave supporters a new way to help veterans in 2018 by launching Carry Forward. During the 5K fitness challenge and fundraiser, participants carry a flag, weights, or another person from start to finish. WWP announced the launch of Carry Forward in May and later kicked it off with an inaugural event in San Diego on October 6. Two other events were later held in Nashville, Tennessee, and Jacksonville, Florida.

 

Increasing Treatment Options for Veterans

Another top 2018 news story from WWP involved its Warrior Care Network, which officially launched nationally in January 2016. The Network represents a partnership between WWP and four academic medical centers across the country. The goal of the collaboration is to increase access to clinical and family-centered treatment services for veterans living with combat-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

In 2018, WWP announced that it is investing $160 million in its Wounded Care Network to continue providing intensive and traditional outpatient therapy, family programming, and pilot treatment programs. To date, Network partners have completed over 92,000 hours of therapy at no cost to participants. The 2018 investment in the initiative will ensure that veterans and military families affected by PTSD, TBI, and other related conditions can continue to benefit from these free services for at least the next five years.

More information about all of Wounded Warrior Project’s latest news and activities is available at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. 

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Spotlight on the Latest News from the American Heart Association

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association’s (AHA) efforts to save lives go far beyond its activities to educate the public about heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues. Since its inception nearly a century ago, the AHA has focused much of its work on researching methods for treating and preventing heart disease, which is now the leading cause of death in the United States.

With the help of individual supporters, as well as corporate and nonprofit partners, the AHA has invested more than $4.1 billion in various research projects and initiatives. Today, the organization oversees one of the nation’s largest and most trusted research programs in the areas of heart and brain health. Read on for a closer look at recent news from the AHA research network.

 

Study Says Exercising after a Heart Attack May Lead to Better Health Outcomes

Although many heart attack survivors worry about the effects of exercise on their recovering heart, a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association links physical activity to improved odds of survival. The study, which examined data on over 22,000 heart attack patients in Sweden, found that those who exercised within the first year of having a heart attack were much less likely to die over the next four years compared to those who remained physically inactive.

According to the study’s findings, while any physical activity was beneficial for patients recovering from a heart attack, those who continued with regular exercise demonstrated the greatest benefit. The AHA and the study’s authors hope that the findings will encourage more heart attack survivors to set aside their concerns about exercising during the immediate recovery period and beyond.

exercise

 

Unconventional Organ Donors Could Help Those Awaiting a Heart Transplant

In the United States, the number of people in need of a heart transplant has risen steadily over the last decade. Today, over 100,000 people are awaiting a transplant. However, a lack of available donor organs threatens their survival. Two separate studies that appeared in the AHA’s journal Circulation: Heart Failure and the Journal of the American Heart Association suggest that expanding the current donor pool may help to save lives.

Specifically, researchers leading the respective studies explored opportunities to expand the donor pool by accepting hearts from obese donors and those who had an active hepatitis C infection at the time of their death. The hearts and other organs from these donor groups are used infrequently in transplants, even though previous studies have shown that they have little negative impact on overall survival rates among transplant recipients. The studies’ authors cite the need for further research, while stating that these types of out-of-the-box strategies may be necessary to meet the growing need for donor hearts.

 

Heart Attack Rates Are Rising Among Young People

Although past research has shown an overall decline in the rate of heart attack in the United States, a recent study published in Circulation, the AHA journal, found that heart attacks among patients 35 to 54 years of age have actually increased in recent years. The surprising findings of the study, which were presented at the AHA’s 2018 Scientific Sessions, highlight the need for an increased focus on this age group.

In particular, the study underscores the often-overlooked problem of heart disease among young women, who showed a bigger jump in heart attacks than young men over the same period. The study’s findings pointed to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight issues, and a lack of proper medical intervention as some of the reasons for the recent increase in heart attacks among young people.

 

Researchers Receive Recognition during 2018 Scientific Sessions

Each year, the AHA honors the work of outstanding researchers as part of the activities at its annual Scientific Sessions. In 2018, the researchers who took home awards included Dr. David G. Harrison of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for his research on hypertension. Dr. Harrison was awarded the AHA’s Basic Research Prize, which is given for outstanding achievement in basic cardiovascular disease science.

The other 2018 award winners were Dr. William Hiatt, Dr. Gary Gibbons, and Dr. Mary Cushman. They received awards for their work on peripheral artery disease, heart disease among minorities, and the causes of cardiovascular disease, respectively.

 

The AHA Provides $43 Million for Brain Health Initiative

In addition to recognizing outstanding researchers, the AHA announced the recipients of $43 million awarded as part of a research initiative into brain health and cognitive impairment. The AHA and The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group are leading the collaborative funding initiative with support from additional contributors such as the Oskar Fischer Project and the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation.

Through the initiative, Fred “Rusty” Gage of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies is receiving $19.2 million to lead an eight-year study examining the cells that drive the aging process. Two more honorees, Tony Wyss-Coray of Stanford and Mukesh Jain of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, will each receive $9.6 million for multi-year cognitive health studies. The three researchers will all launch their projects in early 2019. Additional information about the research initiative and other AHA research news is available at http://www.heart.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

heart health

6 Ways to Show Your Support for the American Heart Association

AHAlogoFor nearly a century, the American Heart Association (AHA) has been working to save lives through research, education, and public outreach programs focused on cardiovascular disease and stroke. Possessing a network of more than 33 million volunteers and supporters, the organization reaches communities throughout the United States and many other countries around the globe. As a nonprofit group, the AHA relies on individual donors and volunteers, as well as corporate partners to provide the necessary funding and resources to continue its lifesaving work. If you’re interested in becoming involved, read on for more information on how to participate.

  1. Consider a Financial Gift

The AHA offers a number of options for those who want to make a donation to support its research, education, and advocacy activities. On the organization’s website, donors can make a one-time financial contribution or sign up to provide a monthly gift of any amount. AHA also accepts memorial or tribute donations from individuals seeking to celebrate and honor the life of someone close to them while supporting a worthy cause.

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In addition to its one-time and recurring donation options, the association oversees a planned-giving program for those interested in providing a financial gift through their estate plan. Potential donors can choose from a number of charitable plans, including gifts by will or living trust. The AHA also accepts gifts of retirement plan assets, appreciated securities, life insurance, and real estate.

  1. Volunteer Your Time

If you’re looking for a way to support the AHA while working within your community, you can sign up for one of the organization’s many volunteer opportunities. Some ways to volunteer include joining the association’s Health eHeart study and providing encouragement and tips to heart patients and their families via AHA’s online forum. Volunteers can also support the AHA at health fairs and other events or take part in the Go Red for Women awareness campaign. The AHA welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, including youth and students, patients and caregivers, and nurses and other health care practitioners.

  1. Participate in a Fund-Raiser

Throughout the year, AHA supporters take part in a number of fund-raisers and awareness events in communities across the country. The association’s premier fund-raising event is its Heart Walk, which raises money for cardiovascular and stroke research. Those looking to participate in a Heart Walk can sign up to walk so or as members of a fund-raising team with their friends, family, and/or co-workers.

walking

AHA’s other fund-raisers and awareness activities include Go Red for Women events, Heart Ball socials, and National Wear Red Day, which occurs every February. AHA also receives support from the country’s young people through its Kids Heart Challenge. Supported by students, parents, and teachers, Kids Heart Challenge events offer youth an opportunity to develop jump rope skills and learn about the inner workings of the heart while raising money for pediatric patients with cardiovascular issues.

  1. Shop at the AHA Store

Do you want to get your hands on great products while also supporting an important cause? Shop the official store of the American Heart Association to find everything from athletic apparel and casual wear to jewelry, tote bags, and coffee tumblers. AHA’s online store also features home decor, cookbooks, and a variety of educational materials such as CPR kits and health brochures. Regardless of what you buy, a portion of every purchase made at the AHA shop funds the association’s programming.

  1. Raise Awareness with Little Hats, Big Hearts

In 2014, AHA representatives in Chicago launched Little Hats, Big Hearts to raise awareness about congenital heart defects. Since then, the local project has become a national initiative that has provided tiny red hats for hundreds of thousands of babies born during American Heart Month in February.

You can support the effort by knitting or crocheting baby hats using red cotton or acrylic yarn that is both machine washable and dryable. To help crafters with the project, the AHA provides sample hat patterns on its website. However, any pattern can be used as long as it is free of buttons, bows, and any other items that could pose a choking hazard. If you are not skilled at knitting or crocheting, you can make a donation to Little Hats, Big Hearts, which distributed over 200,000 hats in 2018.

  1. Become an Advocate for Healthier Communities

You’re the Cure is AHA’s grassroots advocacy network, which mobilizes researchers and health care providers, patients, and caregivers in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Joining the community is as simple as registering your name, address, and phone number on the You’re the Cure website, which features advocates’ stories and information on key advocacy issues.

The community’s main advocacy efforts are in the areas of quality and value of care, access to care, rehabilitation, and heart disease and stroke research. The You’re the Cure website also features an action center where community members can learn about and participate in various advocacy campaigns dedicated to building healthier lives and communities.

More information about the many ways you can support AHA programming is available at www.heart.org/en/get-involved.

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.